New Canaan Marijuana DUI Lawyer
If you were charged with a marijuana DUI, you should contact a New Canaan marijuana DUI lawyer and schedule a consultation. The best New Canaan defense attorneys know that DUI penalties can have serious impacts on someone’s life, and prosecutors take these charges seriously. Don’t leave your case up to chance; contact a top criminal lawyer today.
New Canaan Marijuana DUI Laws
There are two different laws in a CT marijuana DUI scenario: the DUI itself and potential illegal possession if you have a large quantity of marijuana or are under 21. A DUI charge would fall under CGS §14-227a, the same statute as the normal DUI. Possession of over an ounce and a half of marijuana is a violation, not a true crime, for those users 21 and over. Any amount over that can result in a substantial fine or criminal charge. No one under 21 can legally possess marijuana in the state of Connecticut. The penalty for underage possession is often an infraction ticket which could end up on your permanent record if not dealt with properly.
Effects of Legalization on Marijuana DUIs
Even though marijuana is now legal for users 21 and older, driving under the influence is still illegal. The same DUI charge applies.
Legalization does not make marijuana DUI charges less serious or less common. If anything, New Canaan police are probably more on the lookout for clues that someone might be under the influence of marijuana when they are driving.
Difference Between Alcohol and Drug DUIs
The difference between alcohol and drug DUI cases is what the state has to prove. One difference is in the testing. There is the urine test for drugs and a blood or breathalyzer test for alcohol.
A prosecutor is trying to prove that someone is impaired, or possibly had a Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”) of 0.08 or greater. In a marijuana DUI case, there is no specific number that the State has to prove. The state is looking at different kinds of evidence.
Evidence in Marijuana DUI Cases
Often in marijuana cases, the evidence is based on the police officer’s or any other witnesses’ observation that the person in question is impaired. For example, police officers will look at someone’s eyes, reaction time, or coherence of speech. Most of the time it ends up being more scientific because a medical professional or toxicologist is necessary to present evidence as to what those marijuana levels mean. It is not common knowledge like the 0.08 threshold is.
The prosecution needs to prove that the person operated the motor vehicle, in Connecticut; that could be something as simple as putting the key in the ignition while within CT state lines. They also need to prove that the person was impaired by drugs.
For the first arrest, the person might be eligible for a Pre-Trial Program. In Connecticut, it is a Diversionary Program called the Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program. It is meant for alcohol DUIs, but people that are charged with drug DUIs could be eligible for that program as well. Often the New Canaan marijuana DUI lawyer will argue as to why the person, with his first arrest, should get that program. However, if the defendant has already used that program, they are ineligible, and would likely have to plea to a first time DUI.
For a first-time DUI, a defendant could face up to six months in jail, up to two years of probation, and a fine of $500.00 to $1,000.00. During the probationary period, the defendant usually participates in community service. If they do not want to participate in community service, they will have to do a mandatory two day minimum in jail.
When to Hire a Marijuana DUI Lawyer
Someone charged with a marijuana DUI in Connecticut should hire an attorney right away. People often think they can handle it themselves but end up in a complicated situation in which they have no knowledge. An experienced New Canaan marijuana DUI lawyer would take the defendant through the court process and make sure that strategically and procedurally all the right steps are taken.
Importance of a New Canaan Marijuana DUI Attorney
Because marijuana is a lot different than alcohol, retaining an experienced defense attorney who has defended marijuana DUIs before will be helpful. An experienced defense attorney has likely previously consulted with the toxicologist and understands the strengths and weaknesses of the tests and reports. A defense attorney also knows about the interplay of the drug and knows what questions to ask. For example, a lawyer would ask how often the person uses marijuana, how much they had smoked, and how long ago they had smoked.
If you were charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, contact a top New Canaan marijuana DUI lawyer today. An attorney could help you build the best possible defense and fight for an optimal outcome in your case.